Photo: French Entrepreneur Leonard Simpatico Raffling Off Homes in Spain, Some for $13
French entrepreneur Leonard Simpatico will offer in Spain the chance to win a house for the modest price of 10 euros ($13), an original initiative in the midst of the financial and real estate crisis.
Simpatico uses the formula of “collective purchase” and began raffling homes in France a year ago.
“Today we’re opening our office in Madrid and the aim is to raffle the first properties in a couple of weeks,” Simpatico said in an interview with Efe.
“The outlook for Spain is extremely good because, despite the crisis, it’s a very attractive product,” both for Spaniards and for foreigners dreaming of having a second home in the Iberian nation.
Home prices in Spain have fallen 32.4 percent from their December 2007 peak, but sales have not increased because banks are reluctant to write mortgages.
The price drop is occurring above all in big cities and along the Mediterranean coast, where foreign buyers - mainly Britons, the French, Germans and Russians - are focusing their attention.
Simpatico said that currently people from 33 countries are participating in the raffle on his Web site and he added that, after opening offices in France and Spain, he intends to establish operations in Morocco, Romania, China, Britain, Belgium and Greece before the year is out.
The businessman said that his company is not offering online gambling, because participants can recover their money before the raffle.
“This is about collective acquisition. The house is bought by all those who are participating and it remains with the winner,” said Simpatico.
The idea of applying this system to home sales arose from the need to offer an opportunity both to the person who wants to sell his house and is not finding a buyer at a price that suits his needs and also to the buyer who cannot get a mortgage, he added.
“Before, you worked, you went to the bank, it financed you and you bought a house. Now, this process is broken, the banks have failed to fulfill their role and it’s very, very, very difficult to be a property owner,” Simpatico said.
Individuals interested in selling their homes can advertise on the Website - www.simpaticojuegos.es - and it will be the online participants who decide on the houses they want to see raffled off.
Simpatico’s company will buy the selected homes and will raffle them among those people who have bought the corresponding tickets for 10 euros.
Players can purchase a maximum of five tickets a month.
Each property that is raffled will go at a fixed price, so that the raffle for it will not occur until enough tickets are sold to cover that amount, Simpatico said.
Later, a judicial agent will perform the raffle of the tickets sold for each property and the winner will “immediately” become the owner of the house without any additional expense, said Simpatico, whose company charges a commission of 15 percent of the fixed price.